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Old 04-30-2012, 10:01 PM   #1
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Coach Batteries -- Story

I just bought our 1994 Fleetwood Flair from a private party. I took it out this weekend and discovered a few things.

First it is a 28ft with Chevy 454 engine.

I am wondering if these are interelated issues due to the Subject line.

Water heater not working - reset light instant on. It is the original so I am ok with replacing it.

Inverter (1600 Watts) has only 5.9 volts which made me look at the wiring of the coach batteries. I attached a pict, but does not look like it is working. You can see it here http://tinyurl.com/6wfxt5f

But there is a wire going from positive on one battery to the negative of the other battery. This seems very wrong to me. Can someone confirm?

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:11 PM   #2
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Not if...........

If they are 6 volt batteries that would be normal.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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See the diagrams in this post Series/Parallel or Parallel/Series
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:21 PM   #4
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Is it normal to have a positive cable going to negative cable?
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerChris
I just bought our 1994 Fleetwood Flair from a private party. I took it out this weekend and discovered a few things.

First it is a 28ft with Chevy 454 engine.

I am wondering if these are interelated issues due to the Subject line.

Water heater not working - reset light instant on. It is the original so I am ok with replacing it.

Inverter (1600 Watts) has only 5.9 volts which made me look at the wiring of the coach batteries. I attached a pict, but does not look like it is working. You can see it here http://tinyurl.com/6wfxt5f

But there is a wire going from positive on one battery to the negative of the other battery. This seems very wrong to me. Can someone confirm?
If your batteries are 6volt it should have one from positive to negative then one positive to coach and negative to ground.
Congrats!
Now search the threads for this info
The 12v side of life- great info
Read all threads on the autoparkbrake as you have it on your drive shaft( parking brake that keeps you from rolling) bookmark oldusedbear (roger Haag)as a friend, he is the expert on all things concerned with your park break system and can provide you great info to prevent issues before they happen.
Look in the files section of the site as I have uploaded electric schematics for 94 chevy P30 chassis- should be same as yours
I also uploaded the plumbing schematics and other various files that may help if you don't have all your manuals.

Post some pictures and ask all the questions you want! I have learned much from reading and asking for help. Roger even called me from Oregon to help me fix my brake problem!
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
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great information... Is it normal to have one battery at zero and the other at 5.9?
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Is it normal to have a positive cable going to negative cable?
See the diagrams in post number 3, it is very common.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerChris
great information... Is it normal to have one battery at zero and the other at 5.9?
Not if they are wired correctly, IMHO take the batteries out of the coach and check fluid levels then charge them and have them tested at Autozone, O'reillys, NAPA wherever- it's free to have them tested. I always have any electrical parts tested at 2 different stores. Had an alternator and battery for the car tested at one place and they said need new ones, took the same items to another store and they said yep battery dead but alternator was fine.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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great information... Is it normal to have one battery at zero and the other at 5.9?
Definitely not normal. You need to have them tested (load tested). FOllow 4knights advice.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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Regarding your photos.. I do not have a Sky Drive account and thus can not log in to view them.

Regarding the water heater.. Low voltage can cause all sorts of failure, Also on ATTWOOD units (I do not know about surburban but suspect they have a similar feature) when you winterize you are supposed to remove a wire from a terminal,, The effect of this is to cause the FAULT light to come on instantly when you try to activate it, This is a safety feature.. Many professionals do not remove the wire, but if the previous owner did the winterization, and actually READ THE FINE MANUAL. .He did.

As to the batteries: I echo the comments above about six volt batteries, A very common battery in RV's is the six volt Golf Car GC-2 size battery. You can easily identify this battery because they are what are called "Flooded wet cells" This means that part of your regular monthly check of them involves checking the fluid (Acid/Water mix) level inside the battery and topping off as needed with DISTILLED WATER to a level just BELOW the bottom of the filler tube.

Each battery has THREE cells, either one triple cap or 3 single cell caps, which can be removed to check and/or top off.

Since there are no six volt batteries (electrically) in RV's you put two of them inseries, connecting the positive of one to the negative of the other, to make one big 12 volt battery... By the way, think of them that way (Think of the pair as though they are one single battery) this way many questions vanish.. Example "Can I replace just one?" Well, if you had a big 12 volt battery, say a size 8-D, could you replace just half of it? Same answer.

How do I charge them (Same as you would an 8-D).

Do they need to be the same (Age/ make/ model/ size, and so on) would you want an 8-D that was half one thing and half another?


Finally you ask another question.. Is it normal for one to be 5.9 V and the other to be zero.. Well, yes,, That is a "Normal" Failure mode,, it means they need to be replaced. A bit rare for that precise mix, but it simply means they need replacement.

You may also wish to check your converter (Once you replace).

Now.. why are six volt golf car batteries so popular... There are two reasons.

Many folks argue with me when I point out the differences between "DEEP CYCLE" and starting batteries,, They claim there is no difference.. This may be because they confuse "Marine/Deep Cycle", which is a starting battery, with Deep Cycle, which is not. Or because you can start your motor home using your deep cycle golf car batteries (Emergency Start). Which makes sense only if you do the math. I majored in math.

However if you do a bit more math you find the real reason they are so popular.. Thousands of golf courses each with dozens of golf cars buying those batteries by the pallet load. This means that the assembly lines that make them run on that one size far longer than any other line in the battery plant.. In some plants it may well never change (Never be re-tooled) Shutting a line down and re-tooling it is expensive.

Other battery types, they run off a few hundred, or thousand, then they shut down and re-tool, and run off a few hundred or thousand, and shut down and re-tool and ....

Thus the six volt Golf Car battery pair is the lowest cost per amp hour of any battery in a given model line.

That said, they now have many golf cars using 12 volt batteries, Club Car (As I recall) uses 12 volts.. And as they become more popular the 12 volt GC battery will drop in proce for exactly the same reaon. (That is drop in relation to other batteries)

A final comment; Many around here are in love with AGM batteries.. I recommend agains them. 300 worth of AGM replace 120 worth of Flooded wet cell. And... They do it more often (That is they don't last as long as properly maintained wet cells). Both personal experience and manufacturer's web pages support that statement (Battery life expressed as charge/discharge cycles.. Flooded wet (properly maintained) have the highest number of cycles of life, then maintenance free, AGM and GEL in that order)

GEL is a very, very bad choice.. AGM's do. in a very few cases, have an advantage, but this is rare.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #11
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This is great information!!!! Thank you!!! I will take them out today and check levels and get tested.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
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This is great information!!!! Thank you!!! I will take them out today and check levels and get tested.
If you think about how D cell batteries stack up in a 2 cell flashlight, you'll note that the + of the first battery connects to the load (bulb) and the + of the second battery connects to the - of the first. Same thing in your coach. You want 12V from 2 6V batteries, they connect in series to provide that 12V.

I just replaced mine last week. They were 10 years old, still worked, but ran down very quickly. Two new 6V golf car batteries at Costco came in at about $120. If your batteries are original to the coach (or look like they are) spend the $120 and replace them. That way you'll know what you're dealing with. Other problems that may be related to a dysfunctional 12V system may then disappear.

If you do replace them, MAKE SURE the batteries are connected as follows:

<--12V--[+ B1 -]--[+ B2 -]--Chassis ground-->
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